Skip to main content

Alfa Romeo is a company known for creating distinctive vehicles that catch the eye. For the upcoming 2023 model year, the company has introduced the Tonale to its lineup of luxury automobiles. This new addition intends to demonstrate Alfa Romeo’s progression into electrification while showing that the company remains dedicated to performance and quality. So, does the Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV succeed at its goal?

The Alfa Romeo Tonale represents something new for the automaker

2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale and 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) models
Alfa Romeo Tonale and Toyota RAV4 Prime | FCA US LLC. and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

According to Autoweek, the 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale came about due to a merger that brought several companies together under one umbrella. First, Alfa Romeo and Fiat joined with the French multinational automotive company PSA to form Stellantis. From there, the Tonale was conceived to respond to consumers’ increasing desire for crossovers. After that concept was solidified and realized, all that was left was for Alfa Romeo USA to make the big reveal to the public.

The Tonale is a compact SUV that is also available as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). While this is unique for Alfa Romeo, other automakers have been producing crossover hybrid vehicles for years now. Because of this, the Italian automaker’s late entry faces some very stiff competition in the industry.

While the price of the 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale hasn’t been released as of this writing, Alfa Romeo’s reputation for producing luxury vehicles makes it easy to speculate that consumers will pay a premium price for it, especially if they want to upgrade to the plug-in hybrid version. So the question on everyone’s minds becomes, is it worth the money one will potentially have to pay for it? Additionally, how does the Tonale measure up against other PHEV vehicles in its class?

What does the plug-in hybrid version of the Tonale bring to the table?

According to specs offered by Stellantis North America in its press release, the Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV will boast a six-speed automatic transmission with a 90kW electric motor and turbocharged four-cylinder engine. With these tools, the crossover SUV will deliver 272 horsepower and an EV mode electric range of over 30 miles. Additionally, Alfa Romeo claims that the Tonale possesses best-in-class hybrid power, enough to take the electric Tonale from 0 to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds flat.

As for features, the Tonale comes with standard wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, wireless charging capabilities, and a UConnect 5 infotainment system that employs Amazon Alexa home-to-car interaction. Additionally, Alfa Romeo is delivering what they claim is a world-exclusive offering of a non-fungible token (NFT) popular with cryptocurrency owners and users. This system will privately track the Tonale’s maintenance and operation data to issue a digital certificate to its owner.

The Tonale’s distinctive compact dimensions sit at a length of 178.3 inches (4.53 meters), a width of 72.4 inches (1.84 meters), and a height of 63.0 inches (1.6 meters). These measurements are meant to encompass the original, contemporary style of Alfa Romeo. The interior combines sporty surroundings with high-tech sensibilities and a unique design intended to represent the young, dynamic consumer that Alfa Romeo tends to draw in.

With these stats, it’s no wonder Alfa Romeo is confident in the 2023 Tonale PHEV. However, in the world of plug-in hybrid SUVs, there is one vehicle that not only outperforms the Tonale as a non-luxury offering but does so to an almost embarrassing degree.

The Toyota RAV4 Prime stands above the Tonale PHEV in every category


2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale Easily Loses Luxury PHEV Battle to the 2022 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime offers everything that the Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV brings to the table, but better. For starters, according to Kelley Blue Book, the RAV4 Prime PHEV has a starting price of $39,800, and that does not account for a significant tax credit available to consumers. Despite the cost of the Tonale being unknown as of this writing, as a luxury compact SUV being produced by a luxury Italian automaker, consumers could reasonably speculate that the Tonale will be more expensive.

In terms of performance, the RAV4 Prime gets an EPA-estimated up to 42-mile EV mode if driving on a full charge. That’s a full 12 miles further than the Tonale gets with a full charge on its 15.5-kWh lithium-ion battery. Additionally, the RAV4 Prime’s hybrid engine runs at a combined 94 MPGe. The fuel efficiency of the Tonale PHEV has yet to be rated. Still, other luxury electric vehicles like the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace received much lower MPGe ratings than the RAV4 Prime, according to Consumer Reports.

Looking further at engine performance, the Toyota RAV4 Prime has a combined 302 net horsepower, making it the most powerful RAV4 model so far, along with putting it way ahead of the Tonale’s 272 horsepower. Moreover, with its output, the RAV4 goes from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds, which is 0.3 seconds faster than the Tonale.

Looking inside, the RAV4 Prime offers many of the same interior amenities that the Tonale offers, with integration for your iPhone and Android devices, as well as access to Amazon Alexa services. Additionally, the RAV4 Prime comes equipped with SiriusXM satellite radio and Bluetooth capabilities. It doesn’t have the bonus of an NFT, but it’s unclear how user-friendly that technology will be to most drivers.

While Alfa Romeo has made great strides to join the hybrid SUV market, making forward progress on the march toward electrification, the 2023 Tonale simply does not stand up against the 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime. With greater horsepower, more efficient fuel economy, more extended driving range on an electric battery, a more spacious interior, and (presumably) a more attractive price tag, the RAV4 Prime is the clear winner in this battle of plug-in hybrid SUVs.